R200 discount for liking us on FB
Durban - The mayor of the ANC-led Newcastle municipality has accused three DA councillors of not representing the community in council, and wants the speaker to investigate their conduct for “breach of contract”.
Mayor Afzul Rehman’s threat comes after his ire was sparked by a DA complaint about the municipality’s “irregular expenditure” of R171 000 on 100 tracksuits for last year’s South African Local Government Association (Salga) games.
The DA argues the exorbitant cost of the tracksuits - R1 700 each - was only made known at the finance portfolio committee meeting in January, and has asked for an explanation from the municipality.
Rehman claims the DA only voiced its disapproval after an article appeared in the media.
But DA councillor Imran Keeka yesterday denied this, saying the issue was raised at the municipality’s portfolio committee meeting.
He said three of the five DA councillors in Newcastle returned their tracksuits, while the other two gave theirs away. This was then followed by the submission of formal questions to the municipal manager, calling for him to explain the irregular expenditure. Keeka said it had also emerged that careful budgeting and supply chain management processes were most likely “not adequately followed”.
“The action of the DA councillors in formally querying the matter was completely above board and in line with their mandate of trying to root out corruption in the municipality.”
Keeka said Rehman responded by threatening to call for the suspension of the three DA councillors whose signatures appeared at the bottom of the formal questions.
However, speaking to The Mercury on Tuesday, Rehman explained that the R171 000 spent on the attire for the Salga games included VAT, and was actually for tracksuits, knee-length shorts and golf shorts for all 100 councillors.
Also, the items were embroidered with the logos of the municipality, the district and Salga.
“Look, to be honest, I do not know whether that price is fair for that clothing - I do not know the price of these things. But if I had to look at everything we got, plus the embroidery and transport, I would say that it seems about right,” he said.
Rehman also insisted that the correct procedures were followed, whereby the municipality called for three quotes, and then opted for the cheapest.
He hit back at the DA councillors, saying they never voiced their dissatisfaction with the expenditure in any of the municipality’s meetings, including the portfolio committee meeting, the executive committee meeting, and full council meeting. It was only after a journalist questioned it that the DA expressed outrage, he said.